2017 Maryland Code
Title 8 - Landlord and Tenant
Subtitle 2 - Residential Leases
§ 8-208. Written leases; supplementary rights afforded by local law or ordinance; prohibited provisions not enforceable; damages; severability
- (a) Written leases -- In general. --
- (1) On or after October 1, 1999, any landlord who offers 5 or more dwelling units for rent in the State may not rent a residential dwelling unit without using a written lease.
- (2) If a landlord fails to comply with paragraph (1) of this subsection, the term of the tenancy is presumed to be 1 year from the date of the tenant's first occupancy unless the tenant elects to end the tenancy at an earlier date by giving 1 month's written notice.
- (b) Written leases -- Copy of proposed form to prospective applicants. -- A landlord who rents using a written lease shall provide, upon written request from any prospective applicant for a lease, a copy of the proposed form of lease in writing, complete in every material detail, except for the date, the name and address of the tenant, the designation of the premises, and the rental rate without requiring execution of the lease or any prior deposit.
- (c) Written leases -- Contents. -- A lease shall include:
- (1) A statement that the premises will be made available in a condition permitting habitation, with reasonable safety, if that is the agreement, or if that is not the agreement, a statement of the agreement concerning the condition of the premises;
- (2) The landlord's and the tenant's specific obligations as to heat, gas, electricity, water, and repair of the premises; and
- (3) A receipt for the security deposit as specified in § 8-203.1 of this subtitle.
- (d) Written leases -- Prohibited provisions. -- A landlord may not use a lease or form of lease containing any provision that:
- (1) Has the tenant authorize any person to confess judgment on a claim arising out of the lease;
- (2) Has the tenant agree to waive or to forego any right or remedy provided by applicable law;
- (i) Provides for a penalty for the late payment of rent in excess of 5% of the amount of rent due for the rental period for which the payment was delinquent; or
- (ii) In the case of leases under which the rent is paid in weekly rental installments, provides for a late penalty of more than $ 3 per week or a total of no more than $ 12 per month;
- (4) Has the tenant waive the right to a jury trial;
- (5) Has the tenant agree to a period required for landlord's notice to quit which is less than that provided by applicable law; provided, however, that neither party is prohibited from agreeing to a longer notice period than that required by applicable law;
- (6) Authorizes the landlord to take possession of the leased premises, or the tenant's personal property unless the lease has been terminated by action of the parties or by operation of law, and the personal property has been abandoned by the tenant without the benefit of formal legal process;
- (7) Is against public policy and void pursuant to § 8-105 of this title; or
- (8) Permits a landlord to commence an eviction proceeding or issue a notice to quit solely as retaliation against any tenant for planning, organizing, or joining a tenant organization with the purpose of negotiating collectively with the landlord.
- (e) Written leases -- Automatic renewal provisions. --
- (1) Except for a lease containing an automatic renewal period of 1 month or less, a lease that contains a provision calling for an automatic renewal of the lease term unless prior notice is given by the party or parties seeking to terminate the lease, shall have the provision distinctly set apart from any other provision of the lease and provide a space for the written acknowledgment of the tenant's agreement to the automatic renewal provision.
- (2) An automatic renewal provision that is not specifically accompanied by either the tenant's initials, signature, or witnessed mark is unenforceable by the landlord.
- (f) Supplementary rights afforded by local law or ordinance. -- No provision of this section shall be deemed to be a bar to the applicability of supplementary rights afforded by any public local law enacted by the General Assembly or any ordinance or local law enacted by any municipality or political subdivision of this State; provided, however, that no such law can diminish or limit any right or remedy granted under the provisions of this section.
- (g) Prohibited provisions not enforceable; damages. --
- (1) Any lease provision which is prohibited by terms of this section shall be unenforceable by the landlord.
- (2) If the landlord includes in any lease a provision prohibited by this section or made unenforceable by § 8-105 of this title or § 8-203 of this subtitle, at any time subsequent to July 1, 1975, and tenders a lease containing such a provision or attempts to enforce or makes known to the tenant an intent to enforce any such provision, the tenant may recover any actual damages incurred as a reason thereof, including reasonable attorney's fees.
- (h) Severability. -- If any word, phrase, clause, sentence, or any part or parts of this section shall be held unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction such unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity of the remaining parts of this section.
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